Public transportation in Germany has been really efficient. I have mastered the BVG in Berlin. I confidently hop from station to station to reach my destinations.
I took a train for the first time to Prague from Berlin. Three other students from my study abroad were also going to Prague on the same train, so we all left for the hauptbahnhof together. I had reserved a seat in advance. However, I don’t know how to read the ticket or the train itself. The train to Prague left at 6:30AM, so the train was fairly empty. It worked out to where we ended up sitting in unreserved seats together.
Coming back from Prague, the four of us had different ways back. While I have Berlin’s transportation down, I was nervous to do the train in Prague alone. I stood at the board, waiting to see what platform I had to run to for boarding. Once the platform was posted, the entire group behind me started running.
This train was entirely booked.
I knew I reserved a seat for a reason. But wait! How do I read this ticket seat? The train pulled up, and I didn’t know how to read anything. I hopped onto the wagon that stopped in front of me and hoped for the best. The wagon I got on was completely reserved, which surprised the 30 people behind me. We were in gridlock. No one knew what to do.
I began asking around for help in reading my ticket. “Do you know how I find my seat number?” “What wagon am I in?” Turns out, God put wagon 259, the wagon I needed, right in front of me. I was lucky! I just had to wade through 20 people to get to my seat.
It was hot. No one could move in those corridors. People began having panic attacks. I’ve never been one to lose myself while in these situations, so I stayed calm and determined.
Finally, after asking multiple to move and how these seats were numbered, I found seat 55. And there was a young girl sitting in it. I had heard before you can’t ask someone to move out of your reserved seat (which doesn’t make sense to me). I tested to see if she knew this rule and said, “Hiiiiii! I’m 55. Yeah, I’m here!” The young girl put her head in her hands and groaned. Her friends laughed, and she moved out.
Lesson learned: reserve your seat and learn how to read your seat. I still don’t know how to read wagon numbers, but I will forever reserve a seat.